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South(Africa)-South(America): Segregation and Housing in So Paulo and Johannesburg

Monday 23 June 2pm 5pm

Venue: Exhibition Room, PBG07, Pearson Building, Gower Street, UCL (see www.ucl.ac.uk/maps for directions)

The final event of the Urban Salon year, 2-5pm on Monday 23 June, will be a South(Africa)-South(America) encounter, with a Johannesburg-So Paulo comparative exchange between Marie Huchzermeyer (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa) and Eduardo Marques (University of So Paulo, Brazil). Commentators will be Mrcio Valena (University of Natal, Brazil) and Charlotte Lemanski (UCL Geography).  The afternoon workshop will explore comparative experiences of segregation and housing policy in both cities. It will also provide an opportunity to engage with wider provocations as to the scope for building understandings of urban processes through such South-South intersections, perhaps side-stepping Northern based theorisations.

An Urban Salon UCL Urban Lab Workshop

The programme will proceed as follows:

2pm -3.15pm:

The persistence of segregated urban form in South Africa: housing policy, the planning system and rights

Marie Huchzermeyer (Architecture and Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand)

State-assisted housing in post-apartheid South Africa is largely blamed for the perpetuation of segregated urban form. In this presentation, I demonstrate the scale of this housing delivery to destitute households, and locate it within the context of the countrys high level of inequality and poverty, and the extent of reliance on social grants. However, the cause of urban expansion in highly segregated patterns lies also with an unreformed planning system which has not empowered municipalities to direct new developments (whether private or state-subsidised) in accordance with officially adopted visions of compact and less segregated urban form. Given a transformative Constitution which entrenches socio-economic rights, the Constitutional Court has been called upon to rule on inadequacies in housing policy, in the planning system and in the realization of housing-related rights. In this sense, it has contributed towards shaping three emerging normative frameworks housing policy, planning and rights, but not in a way that reaches far enough to reverse the dominant urban spatial form.

With commentary by Mrcio Valena (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil)

3.30pm 4.45pm:

Poverty, spaces and segregation in So Paulo, XXI century


Eduardo Marques (Centre for Metropolitan Studies, University of Sao Paulo)


The presentation will discuss the changes in poverty, social structure and residential segregation in So Paulo in the 2000s. I begin with the description of the dynamics of poverty, the labor market and income inequality in the metropolitan region, as well as the changes in social structure. Following this, I analyze the spatial distribution of social groups in space, as well as their segregation patterns by class and race. The data show no signs of social polarization and some elements of professionalization, differently from what has been discussed internationally. The metropolis continues to be intensely segregated and structured around a clear pattern of avoidance between social groups. However, although the changes of the 2000s increased the exclusivity of the areas inhabited by elites, they also tended to increase the heterogeneity in the rest of the city, contributing to greater social mix in the intermediate spaces and the peripheries. The last part of the presentation will explore information on personal networks of poor individuals in the city, discussing their possible role in bridging segregated spaces and in integrating territorially isolated individuals.


With commentary by Charlotte Lemanski (UCL Geography).

Final wrap up commentary: 4.45-5pm: tbc

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